‘Snow-liage’ is great, but residents would prefer to see power restored
By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Tue., Nov. 8, 2011
The early winter storm on Oct. 29 left residents hanging in limbo as they coped with massive, long-term power outages and awaited restoration of their electricity. In conjunction with Connecticut Light & Power, utility crews from other states, including Ohio and Georgia, were seen in several communities attempting to assist with power restoration.
Town officials have stepped up to the plate in some of Connecticut’s smallest towns, including Union, which experienced 100 percent power loss as a result of the storm. Union Town Hall, the town’s designated emergency shelter, operating under generator power, opened its community room to residents late in the afternoon on Sunday, Oct. 30. On Monday, Oct. 31, members of the Union Volunteer Fire Department traveled door to door to make Union’s residents aware of the shelter.
In addition to providing heat, lights and cots, people could take showers, obtain a meal, fill water containers, and watch television and movies.
“The shelter is functioning as it’s supposed to,” said Union First Selectman Albert L. “Andy” Goodhall, Jr., who also said that members of the fire department have been serving residents in various capacities, including assisting with their generators and other storm-related issues, whenever possible. The shelter ran into a slight obstacle on Wednesday, Nov. 2, when the well ran dry late in the evening. However, the well replenished itself by the time the shelter opened the next morning.
On Friday, Nov. 4, Goodhall called into WTIC’s radio program, “State and Church,” to voice his concerns over the fact that he had been promised tree and utility crews on Thursday, Nov. 3, that did not show. He provided his cell phone number to Union residents.
The town of Union lost electricity on Saturday, Oct. 29. As of Saturday, Nov. 5, 82 percent of Union’s residents, and even the town hall/emergency shelter, were still without electricity.
By Saturday, Nov. 5, Goodhall had held brief conversations with Gov. Dannel Malloy and a member of the National Guard, one of whom showed up at town hall on Saturday afternoon to talk with town officials and write an assessment report for the National Guard’s Operation Center in Hartford.
Goodhall said that he was assured power would be restored to the town hall/emergency shelter on Saturday evening, Nov. 5, and it was indeed restored at approximately 7:30 p.m. “It’s great to have power at the emergency center after seven days,” said Goodhall shortly after the power was restored. “It’s been exactly one week now.”
Meanwhile, Union residents and officials remained hopeful that electricity would be restored town-wide. On Nov. 6, nearly eight full days after losing power, CL&P’s outage map indicated that Union and neighboring Stafford were both in the 41 to 50 percent bracket for those still affected by outages. They were topped only by Somers, which fell into the 51 to 60 percent category.
Send comments and story ideas to Lauri Voter at firstname.lastname@example.org.